Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival
43 images Created 24 Mar 2013
Wat Bang Phra is the best known "Sak Yant" tattoo temple in Thailand. It's located in Nakhon Pathom province, about 40 miles from Bangkok. The tattoos, which are given by either Buddhist monks or "wicha" (practitioners of magic), are popular with soldiers, policeman and gangsters, people who generally live in harm's way. The tattoo must be activated to remain powerful and the annual Wai Khru Ceremony (tattoo festival) at the temple draws thousands of devotees who come to the temple to activate or renew their tattoos. People go into trance like states and then assume the personality of their tattoo, so people with tiger tattoos assume the personality of a tiger, people with monkey tattoos take on the personality of a monkey and so on. They rush the stage in their trance. Volunteer medics catch the people and return them to a conscious state and they return to their place in the crowd. At the end of the festival, monks spray the crowd with holy water from a fire hose.